Pirihira Te Tia belonged to Ngati Kura, Kaitangata (or Tupawhenua) and Ngati Uenuku. Her father was Maketu who died in the Battle of Pukenamu at Whanganui. Her mother Te Tia died at Waikanae. Pirihira's husband was a Maori preacher. She had 14 children but at her death only a son Wiari Te Tia was alive.
Pirihira was possibly born at Waikanae shortly after Te Heke Tama-te-uaua arrived. After the battle of Haowhenua in 1834 the Ngati Tama were driven south to Ohariu with their associates and settled there and on various sites near Te Whanganui-a-Tara harbour. Pirihira said she lived at Tiakiwai and Pipitea after leaving Waikanae during this period. She was in the Te Whanganui-a-Tara area when the land was sold to the New Zealand Company in 1840s but at Waikanae to hear the guns at the battle of Kuititanga. After the battle between Rangihaeata and Governor Grey in 1846 in the Hutt Valley Pirihira left Wellington again and went back to Waikanae. That year Tiakiwai land was claimed by Governor Grey to build military barracks and the Maori residents were shifted to Pakuao which was only used for occasional visits by Kaitangata from that time. Pirihira was back at Waikanae for a short period before Wi Kingi Te Rangitake, in 1848, encouraged a large party of Te Ati Awa to return to Taranaki. At Waikanae, Pirihira had lived with just three families of Kaitangata on the south side of the Waikanae river which included the family of Tuhata and the Uenuku family. Tuhata did not return with Wi Kingi. Later Pirihira went to Wanganui, married and remained in that area for the rest of her life. In 1892 she was living at Kukuta a few miles east of Wanganui.
Pirihira claimed an interest in land at Tiakiwai through her mother's uncles Te Matau (Tamatoa) and Whakatau who had both died before 1888. She also claimed land at Oterongo and at Terawhiti Section no 94 in South Wellington now generally referred to as Waiariki and the suggested site of a kainga called Pirihira Kainga. She also held land in Taranaki and at Onairo (Onaeroroa) near Waitara. Pirihira had a cousin Inia Te Hunahuna (d 1898) who came from Waitara aged about 8 or 9, to Waikanae. He went with the boat load of Kaitangata to live at Collingwood and then he returned to Wellington. A large number of people also left Waikanae after the Battle of Haowhenua to settle on Arapawa Island and were visited regularly by their chief Tuhata and in later generations by his son Inia Tuhata d 1871 a Maori preacher who had married Mere Pomare in 1857.
In the 1890s Pirihira was a witness in Maori land court hearings at Otaki and Wellington and was able to provide a number of whakapapa of Te Ati Awa people. Pirihira died at Te Kuiti in 1908.
Wellington MB 2 p.197 4th April 1888
Otaki MB 10 p. 10, 286-290, 308, 311, 399, 407, 422-427, 466-469
Wellington MB 16A (Judge Scannell's MB 16?) p. 10, 26, 27, 28, 318, 320, 353
Otaki MB 11 p.348.
(Judge Ward's Wanganui MB no 12 p.300, 21st November 1892
Taranaki MB 18 p.149, 1910. - Sec 25 Block 21, Waitara.
Nga Waahi taonga o Te Whanganui-a-Tara : Maori sites of Te Whanganui-a-Tara . Wellington : Wellington City Council,1995. M35, M59, M60, M62.